Monday, May 1

...by any other name... @Liz Flaherty

I was startled last week when I found out the wrong way that the title to my December release had been changed. To make a long story short, it was a disconnect between my editor and me that was unintentional and, in the long run, not a big deal.

One thing that makes it not a big deal is the fact that whenever anyone asked me about the original title, my first response was, "Uh..." I couldn't just reel off It Was Written in the Stars. This may have been because my title was too long, although I truly did love it, or maybe it was just wrong. The new name for Libby's story is The Happiness Pact and a few days after having found out about it, I'm settling into it really well. Not an "uh" in sight. It's shorter, sweeter, and still about the story. And it's probably just right.

Which makes me think about titles. I have, in the end, liked all of mine but one. To this day, 10 years after its release, I despise the title The Debutante's Second Chance. My choice was The River Walk and I would still choose that over the one that was used. I think The Debutante's Second Chance
makes the story sounds frivolous, like one of the fluff pieces we're always accused of. The theme was spousal abuse--not a frivolous page in sight. In all honesty, it was a successful book and I'm still very proud of it, but I think The River Walk would have been better.

Most of my titles with a large publisher have been changed in some way. Other than the one I mentioned, I think the changes were improvements, so I can't quarrel with them. When I am reading a book, I seldom remember its title, only who wrote it.

A hmmm moment and, yes, more questions.

As writers, what's been your experience? As readers, do you ever glance back at the title with a frown and wonder where it came from?

Have a great week.

Liz

17 comments:

  1. As a self-published author, no one has ever changed my titles, but my editor and writer peeps *did* talk me out of titling my first book "Love, Latex, and NutriaGlop." So that was definitely a good thing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol--I can't imagine why they wanted you to change that!

      Delete
  2. bahaha, Ava!

    I've liked all of my titles except one...and the one I don't like *does* fit the book really well...but it's still not my favorite.

    Fun post, Liz!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Have you kept most of your own, Kristi, or have you had to change them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes and no - hardly any of my draft-titles made it through to the end...but most of the finalized titles have been something I brainstormed (or helped to brainstorm). I actually like coming up with title ideas - although my editor would probably like it if I didn't have quite so many! lol

      Delete
  4. Just last week I received the cover for my next book back from the designer. Cool cover. Wrong title. She used the tag line, which I'm sure was an accident, and the more I looked at it, the more I liked. So now, I've changed the title, but it wasn't exactly my idea. So kudos to the one who made the error. I'm happy about the change

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great story! Not exactly how you expect things to come out.

      Delete
  5. I like The Happiness Pact for a title. I read The Debutante's Second Chance and it is about a subject that is not frivolous at all. (Great book!) If you had a chance to give it a new title what would you choose?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Carolyn, what a good question. I would love "Maybe This Time," but it's been used more than once (one time by Kathleen Gilles Seidel, always a favorite.) The only other thing I can think of is "Finding a Safe Place."

      Delete
  6. Titles are crazy--the original title for SEX AND THE WIDOW MILES was LIKE FINE WINE, but we changed the name of my press to FINE WINE ROMANCES, so we needed to change the title of Julie's book. For some reason, I always feel a need to explain that the title doesn't mean the book is about sex, so maybe I should have thought harder about it. However, it's often the one that a lot of readers, especially my baby boomer readers, really love, so ...go figure. As a reader, I barely remember titles, more often it's authors and even then, it's more like, "I just read the best book...um..." ;-) Great post, Liz!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a hard time getting used to "Sex and the Widow Miles," but once I did, I can't imagine it as anything else. It's such a great story.

      Delete
  7. I love The Happiness Pact as a title. It should do really well. Most of my titles haven't changed from what I originally named them. I probably should have changed at least one of them because there are several books with the same title. My Carina Press book was originally called Welcome to Paradise, but they didn't like it. It became First and Again. I don't hate the title, but I still like the original better!

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL....where do I start? I was adamant the title of my 2nd book should be 'Love on the Rocks', but by the time I'd written and published the 1st book in that series (long story short, I wrote the first 5 out of order, lol!), I decided to change it to Love Finds A Way. So when I repubbed that 1st book with the horrible title, I was able to rerelease it as Love on the Rocks:) Then when I was getting to release 'Star Crossed Lovers', I googled that title and discovered if I kept it, my book was going to get lost on Amazon. After a two day 'Great Title Search', my editor and I settled on 'Heart's Last Chance':)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Carina changed both of mine there--one change I liked a lot, the other not so much. Title is like cover, though--I've never argued it that much.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My biggest title fail was my story collection, "Storm Chaser Shorts" ... yeah, it showed the connection to my first novel, but what an awful title. That's one time I wish my publisher had stepped in. I've never had a title changed by my publisher, though. I think my favorite title of my books is "The Notorious Ian Grant".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that, too. I like the sound of "Storm Chaser Shorts," too, but I know what it's like to hate one. :-)

      Delete